In a just world, you might argue that there would be no animal abuse. But, sadly, we know this is not the case. It is infuriating to read of an animal being abused; but what can you do? It can make you feel helpless.
Not, in the state of Oregon, where animal welfare laws impose strict punishment for those who abuse an animal. And now it has been ruled that a horse named Justice can sue to recover the cost of his medical care after years of severe neglect.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed the lawsuit on his behalf in an Oregon state court through his guardian who is the executive director of a horse rescue group. The suit claims that Justice was denied sufficient food and shelter for several months.
When he was rescued last year, he was found debilitated and emaciated; a veterinarian said that the horse was 300 pounds underweight when he was taken in. Justice also suffered from frostbite, lice and a skin infection.
The Oregon state legislature has declared that animals are “sentient beings capable of experiencing pain, stress and fear”. The lawsuit claims that under the law, animals are the intended beneficiaries of state welfare laws and are victims when the laws are violated.
“Justice is asking the court to take these well-established rules to the logical next step and recognize his right to sue as a member of the class intended to be protected by Oregon’s anti-cruelty statute,” according to the suit.
The suit also seeks restitution for the horse’s care and for future care from the woman accused of abusing him. She pleaded guilty to animal neglect last year.
What do you think? Should animals be classified so that lawsuits can be filed on their behalf?
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